Interview with S R Manssen

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Up until I was ten years old, I lived in a university town in New Zealand called Palmerston North. That year I was ten, my Dad, who was a lecturer, took a sabbatical year, and we spent the year traveling in Europe and America, attending school in Spain for 5 months and Belgium for 2. We returned to NZ the following year, but then when I was twelve, my parents sold our house, car...everything, and moved us to Belgium, where I completed my high-schooling in Flemish. This was not only the birth of my love of languages, but also the experiences of moving to another culture, being uprooted, not being understood, getting through all that...all of these have influenced my writing.
When did you first start writing?
Surprisingly, I never dreamt of being a writer or thought of writing a book. I've always written poems though. I think the fact that I was dumped into a foreign language school at the age of twelve meant that I struggled with creative writing at school, as it was my second language. I did terribly at it, actually. But I've always been an avid reader, with fantasy-fiction my favourite genre. So it was somewhat as a bolt from the blue when, well into my thirties with two pre-schoolers, I suddenly had the idea for the Realm Trilogy books.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My first book Medar is the beginning of the Realm Trilogy story. It's the story of nearly fourteen-year-old Freya discovering a magical tablet that tells her about a place called Tyrelia. Because Medar is completely surrounded by an impossibly-deep chasm and beyond that an impossibly-high wall, nobody in Medar is aware that Tyrelia even exists. The book ends with Freya finding the secret path and being able to pass through the Wall, but none of her companions can get through the Wall. This allegorical story represents how many people believe that there's nothing more to life than being born, living and dying. But there is more to life--another dimension. It's up to each one of us to seek it out and decide if we want to discover more. Do we want to enter Tyrelia?
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I don't know yet! My book Medar is due for release 8 June 2018.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating a story that young teenagers can enjoy and identify with.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! I don't think I could consider myself a very good author without any fans!
What are you working on next?
The second book in the Realm Trilogy: Tyrelia. I've written the first draft and had it reviewed by my first critic (my husband!). There's a few things I need to change and some ideas I need to develop. But I'm pretty happy with the general storyline. I feel like my writing is so much better having learnt so much from the writing journey for Medar.
Who are your favorite authors?
JRR Tolkein, CS Lewis, JK Rowling, Emily Rodda, Suzanne Collins, George RR Martin. Anything fantasy fiction with a quest!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I work full-time as a Quality, Environment & Sustainability Manager at a global, multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, so I pretty much have to get out of bed each day! In my work and my day-to-day interactions with my friends and family, I know that I have something to offer to make this world a little bit better every day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working. But outside of work & my writing, I love socialising with friends - a BBQ or out to dinner is best!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember my father reading The Hobbit to me and my sisters, after bath time, in front of the fire. I remember being completely captivated by the story and transported to a different land. Magic!
Published 2018-03-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Medar
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 63,540. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
A mysterious tablet. An ancient prophesy. A quest to find Tyrelia. Freya is half blind, poor, and lives in land-locked Medar: an unlikely heroine. Yet she finds herself thrown into an adventure that takes her to the very edge of the only world she has ever known. Will she unlock the clues hidden in the tablet? The key to the long-lost path to Tyrelia—and freedom—is in her hands.